The UAE has one of the most buoyant and dynamic construction industries in the world. Construction is the third largest sector of the economy, after oil and trade. The construction sector has been a primary beneficiary of the oil boom and surge in investment. The number of new and ongoing large-scale projects leads the sector to see robust growth for several years to come. Many of the new projects are in the services sector, including the expansion and refurbishment of the country’s airports and the construction of new hotels and commercial buildings.
The three main emirates of construction activity in the UAE are Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, all of which have distinct infrastructure spending programs. The UAE real estate sector and construction sector are expected to post a growth rate of up to 24 per cent and 22 per cent by 2010 respectively.
The construction industry in the UAE is witnessing massive activity in the form of investments from private, public and government-based organizations. Major projects are being undertaken in areas related to airport and infrastructure development. Growth in tourism has led a large number of real estate developers, both local and foreign, investing in hotels, resorts and commercial projects such as parks and attractive spots for tourists.
The major ongoing projects in Dubai are the development of the metro rail system, Burj Dubai, the man-made Palm Islands. And in Abu Dhabi they are Saadiyat Island and the Al-Raha Beach.
The Abu Dhabi construction market is one of the most dynamic markets in the region, with clear indications of continued growth. Projects worth US$10.16bn are already in various phases of completion, while US$5.17bn has been invested for airport development, US$3.45bn for road infrastructure projects currently being taken up.
Some of the mega infrastructure projects for Abu Dhabi are:
• Saadiyat Island – US$27 billion
• The Al Raha Beach Development – US$14.68 billion
• Shams Abu Dhabi project: – US$6.8 billion
• The Abu Dhabi Airport Expansion – US$6.77 billion
• The Mohammed Bin Zayed city – US$1.36 billion
• The newly announced port and industrial zone at Taweelah – US$2.17 billion
Some of the mega infrastructure projects for Dubai are:
• Bawadi –US$54.4 billion
• The Waterfront Project –US$50 billion
• Dubai Marina –US$10 billion
• Dubai Festival City –US$ 1.8 billion
• The Burj Dubai Development – US$20 billion
• Dubailand – US$5 billion
• International City – US$2.5 billion
• Dubai Healthcare City –US$1.8 billion
A recent government report outlined that over 1,800 projects, worth around US$27 billion, are currently being carried on in the Gulf region. A succession of multi-billiondollar projects has transformed Dubai and Abu Dhabi into modern and well-serviced centers of corporate activity.
The introduction of freehold property ownership by non-UAE and non-GCC residents has helped this industry grow. The UAE’s geographic location makes it a prime candidate for investment. Investors look towards real estate as investment vehicles. The UAE has no constrains on architectural vision and the pace of construction is very fast.
The potential of the UAE's construction sector is being recognized globally. All major projects require international construction project management firms to supervise work execution. US companies enjoy an excellent reputation for such services. There are no regulatory /demand issues affecting the market for ACE services.